In the Western Ghats of Maharashtra, at a prodigious elevation of 1646 metres (5400 feet) lies the highest peak of the state: Kalsubai, also known as the ‘Everest of Maharashtra’. Surrounded by huge mountain ranges and lush greenery, it is one of the most picturesque mountains in India, and the perfect way to take in its beauty is via a trek that goes through beautiful plateaus and forests. Here’s our ultimate guide to Kalsubai, a trekker’s dream!
Nestled in the Kalsubai Harishchandragad Wildlife Sanctuary, Kalsubai (besides being a mecca for trekkers, of course) is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and nature lovers as well. Exploring it is a unique experience, and definitely one not to be missed.
Scaling Kalsubai has become something of a rite of passage for ardent trekkers. The trek is moderately difficult, passing through lush paddy fields, jungles, small streams, highlands and rocky terrains, and takes around 3-4 hours, with short intervals in between, to reach the crest of Kalsubai.
The base village is Bari Village, which is nestled at the foothills of Kalsubai mountain. You need to reach the end of the village where you’ll find a small stream (which needs to be crossed), and a Hanuman temple. The route from the temple leads straight to the peak, and is well-marked so there is no risk of getting lost.
At the start, the trail is easy, but it gets a bit arduous on the way up. However, for safe ascent, iron ladders have been built along the vertical hill slopes. The descent is down the same route.
Pro tip: If trekking during monsoon, be careful while climbing, as the path tends to get slippery, so cling to the rocks or ropes for a reasonable grip!
What to expect at the summit
As you reach the summit of Kalsubai, expect to witness the panoramic views of the area encompassing mountains, lush greenery and beautiful water bodies – these views are sure to make you forget all about the strenuous trek. Soak in the breathtakingly beautiful views of the Bhandardara backwaters and the nearby hills – Harishchandragad, Ratangad, Harihargad, and Alang-Madan-Kulang forts.
You’ll also find a temple atop the peak, which is dedicated to the local deity, Kalsubai. Every Tuesday and Thursday, the temple priest performs the prayer, which draws devotees in hordes.
Day or night trekking?
Both day and night trekking options are available. If you opt for day trek, aim to be at the pinnacle at dusk when the sun sets behind the lush mountains, creating a magically beautiful landscape – it’s a sight to behold! And, if you’re considering a night trek, aim to be at the peak at dawn as you’ll be making a memory of a lifetime, watching the sun gloriously rise behind the mountains whilst the mist covers the valley below.
Pro tip: If you wish to stay for a day or two to explore the area, there are Homestay options available at the Bari village.
What to pack
The trail is punctuated with snack and tea stalls, so you’re unlikely to go hungry. Be sure to carry a water bottle, first-aid kit and rain wear (if trekking in monsoon). And it goes without saying that sturdy trekking shoes are a must.
It is best to go for an organized tour as it covers everything, from transport to accommodation, meals and an experienced guide. Some of the best tours you can opt for include Mumbai Travellers, Adventure Nation, Treks and Trails India and Thrillophilia.
How to get there
The nearest railway station is Igatpuri, which is approximately 19 miles away from the Bari village (the base village). You can take a cab/taxi from the station and it will take less than an hour to reach the base village. Alternatively, you can reach the base village directly via road from Mumbai.